We had the good fortune of connecting with Heidi Luo and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Heidi, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
I was advised to get rid of my Chinese accent. I was told that was the only thing stop me advancing in my career.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a standup comedian and actress. What sets me apart from others is: My performing career started by accident. I never planned live life as a performer; especially as a standup. I am an Economics Professor at local college. My students always told me that I was very funny. So, I took a comedy writing class for fun. What I didn’t not know the final exam was to perform on stage. My teacher Comedian Adam Barnhardt put me on the stage at world famous Comedy Store. My performance was well received. My husband told me after the show: you may have a career change. And he is right. Shortly after my stand-up adventure, producers and directors found my video online. They all said, “You Are exactly what I am looking for.” Again, by accident, I was in 10 films for my very first year as an actress. Now You can see me in movies and commercials on Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Oxygen, A&E channel, Buzzfeed, Culver City Film Festival footage, the 2019 Silicon Beach Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Seattle Int’s Film Festival and many international film festivals: London, Paris, Italy, India… just name a few. After that, The Jackson Agency signed me as a client. I am very fortunate, my agent Tiauna Jackson was willing to take chance on me. She guides me a brand new world which I am very excited to explore. Even though my performance career started by accident. But it was not easy. Specially when I started to do stand up comedy. I went many comedy clubs every week and I drove a lot from one club to the other. Sometimes, drove hundreds miles for 5 minutes stage time. It is not easy for an Asian woman to survive in the comedy club alone and it is always at night. So I start a comedian group: Assorted Comedians. We support each other, we perform and go clubs together. What I learned from this experience is: If you want to go fast, you go alone; If you want to go far, you go together. Go Together is the best way to survive and success in whatever you want to do. As an Actress/Comedian/Educator. Even though these three roles look very different. But same purpose: to entertaining and educating my audience. Skills I learn from those three roles help each other. For example, Improv skill I learned from Comedy helps me be a better actress and a better teacher; As an actress, the audition process teaches me: It is not about me, it is about character. Which reminds me: as a teacher: it is not about the book or which chapter I have to finish; it is about the students. I am very proud of I am able to listen to my heart to keep an authentic of me. “Me” – a real me is what directors are looking for. Again, thanks, my agent is willing to take chance on me to bring out the best of me. I am keeping enjoy the process. Looking forward to learn more every single day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I am very lucky to live in the Los Angeles. If you visit me I will take you to – Hollywood Blvd — Walk of Fame to see the all the stars, And find your favorite star there. -Chinese Theatre — hope my films are showing that day. And Adobe Theatre — Where Oscar hold. – Climb to the Hollywood sign — I know the road to get there. I used to live under the second “O”. – Defiantly will take you to Universal Studio — a fun place for everyone and meet a lot of famous people in movie too. – For food, will take you to new China Town — Monterey Park. Explore Asian culture and food. Boba tea is a must have drink and dumpling is must have food. -Can’t skip beaches: Santa Monica Beach — so many romantic movies made there. Venice beach — meet a lot of interesting artists there – at night, will take you to some comedy stores in LA. The world famous Comedy Store, Laugh Factory to get some laugh there and meet some comedians. – If you like shopping, I will take you to Camarillo OutLet — Drive along the PCH — beautiful driving along the way. – Before you leave, I will hold a dinner party at my house with directors, actors, actresses and comedians I worked with. I am a good cook. So we can eat and drink until you leave. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My comedian teacher Adam Barnhard at The Clown House never judged me, never told me I should get rid of my accents. He told me: just to be yourself. He put me on the stage of World Famous Comedy Store before I knew I was funny. The rest is history. Another person I want to shoutout is my agent: Tiauan Jackson at Jackson Agency. She takes chance on me and brings out the best out of me. She makes me understand, my Chinese accent is not a disadvantage — it is an advantage of me. This opens a whole new world for me.
by Heidi Luo